As of this fall, students are now able to major in fashion through the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.
Located on the ASU Tempe campus, the focus of the curriculum is centered “on topics ranging from fibers to wearable technology to interior design,” said Katrina Montgomery in the university’s news announcement.
Immediately upon the announcement of the highly requested fashion program, nearly 100 students applied, said Constance Furr, a fashion professor at ASU.
For students who have already declared a major, or are too deep into their studies to change their degree concentration, however, the school now offers a minor for students interested in fashion studies as well. Electives in fashion and related courses are also being offered.
“This program is distinguished from other fashion programs in the U.S. through its integration with other research disciplines in the university,” said ASU’s website. “Gaining a proficiency in illustration skills, fluency with materials, traditional techniques and digital technologies, students are prepared for interdisciplinary collaborations through focus tracks. A unique liaison with Phoenix Art Museum’s fashion design department provides unparalleled experiences with professional practitioners and the museum’s rich fashion archive.”
The curriculum was created and is currently being spearheaded by Phoenix Art Museum’s very own, Dennita Sewell, who has served as a fashion curator for the museum for over 17 years.
“The fashion industry is in a state of transition right now,” said Sewell. “This program, positioned in the school of art and within ASU’s drive for innovation, has potential for exciting collaborations between students across all schools and disciplines. Fashion is a multi-billion dollar, global industry that ASU should have an expertise and voice in. This program will help keep students who want to pursue fashion from leaving the valley, or to even pursue an advanced education in the field.”
The addition of this new program isn’t to say that there isn’t already a prevalence of fashion at ASU, however.
Clubs like Fashion Journalism Club, Sun Devils Wear Prada and Business of Fashion are offered on both the Tempe and Downtown Phoenix campuses- all of which are organizations that students interested in fashion can get involved with right now.
“Currently, the biggest way I’ve see fashion’s prevalence at ASU is through clubs,” said Madison Rowbotham, a former president of the Fashion Journalism Club at ASU. “Clubs like FJC and Business of Fashion are great for students who want to pursue a career in the field… and student involvement with fashion is so important. Clubs like these serve as a way for students to network with industry professionals, meet others with similar interests and gain valuable experience.”